Little Book of Big Holes for Handknitters

For a variety of reasons I haven't been doing much knitting over the summer, so consequently no knit blogs recently. However, today I've got a treat for you. A few months ago when Lucy Neatby asked me if I'd like a copy of her new book, A Little Book of Big Holes for Handknitters, I jumped at the chance, as you can always rely on something new and original from Lucy's needles. 
I was meaning to review it as soon as I'd had a chance to read and digest it, but the best laid plans... First of all there was a couple of weeks in Greece on a reccy for next year's tour, then our two back-to-back Knit France tours. After all the travelling I started to find it really hard to catch up, especially as sciatica was making me pretty miserable too. So to cut a long story short, the book got put aside until I could focus better on its contents, which are quite extensive and detailed for a 'little' book. 
Air Conditioned Gloves
As I'd been experimenting with holey knits myself for a couple of years, I was particularly interested in Lucy's take on it. I'd always used the cast-off and cast-on method to work the holes. I found the resulting hole was never perfect, as there was always a loose stitch at one end, and no matter what I tried, (even using the one-row buttonhole), there was always room for improvement. Eventually I came round to the idea that this didn't matter, thinking I was just being too fussy, so you can imagine my delight when I learned that another designer had tackled the problem.
Spindrift Scarf
The ingenious Lucy had found a way to fix it by inventing a different type of technique altogether. Her method for making holes is a superb piece of thinking outside of the box, and is the peg on which all else hangs, so I'm staying schtum here. Suffice to say it's intriguing and enjoyable once mastered, but you need to get the book and practise it at your leisure.
Spindrift Capelet
Another neat technique is a new way to cast off. This seems complicated when you look at the diagrams, but falls into place when you knit it. As you'd expect from Lucy, tech freaks are well catered for, with an abundance of tips and tricks incorporated into the ten colourful projects, which include mittens, bags, a hat, shawls, scarves, socks and a hottie cover.
Banksia Bag
As I mentioned earlier I haven't been knitting much lately, so I have to come clean and admit I haven't knit anything from the book yet. Mais l'autumn est arrivé! The colours, the scents, the sunsets, the dusky evenings - seasonal inspiration! I'm so looking forward to tucking in with my knitting and a glass of wine by the fireside and top of my knitlist will be a couple of projects from Lucy's book.
Modified Banksia Bag
I just love this glorious time - Halloween, Bonfire Night, many family birthdays, making gifts for Christmas. With the nights drawing in, I love to be outdoors as much as possible - the last few weeks before winter are precious - so I'm looking forward to kick-starting the new knit season with a few jolly little lanterns to illuminate the garden.
Chinese lanterns
Another favourite is the Emperor's scarf, a beautifully crafted piece of knit design, this will be following hard on the heels of the lanterns once I've perfected the technique.
Emperor's Scarf
Emperor's Scarf
It's hard to find something not to like about this book - if you love colour, beautiful images, diverse and original patterns supported by technique videos, you'll be sure to enjoy this book as much as I have.
Mille Feuille Shawl
But if I'm going to be picky, for me there was not enough white space in the book's design. I know this sounds perverse, but I like to digest stuff in bite-sized pieces and when I first opened the e-book I felt overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information. Maybe it's just me, but I sometimes felt that the dazzling designs got lost in Lucy's very meticulous and explicit instructions. It's that old chestnut again - form follows function - a balancing act between clear instructions and good graphics.
Mille Feuille Shawl
Get the book, judge for yourselves, if you love knitting, this little book won't disappoint.
  • The Little Book of Big Holes for Handknitters by Lucy Neatby
  • USD $19.95
  • ISBN  978-0-9782898-9-8


  1. Thank you for this book recommendation, Jean. It looks very interesting and yes, I would like to learn a technique to help with that little yarny bit that occurs when creating openings. I'm trying to remember if I ever figured out something like that back when I was making cardigans that involved buttonholes....

    Hoping you will soon feel like picking up your own knitting needles. Happy September. xo


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